Tonight’s All Star Game broadcast won’t come into the homes of WDAF Fox 4 viewers who get their television through Dish Network. At least not without an antenna, and even then it can be iffy.
A running contract battle between Dish Network and WDAF’s owner Tribune Broadcasting continues to keep the Kansas City station’s broadcast off the satellite network.
Similar disruptions have visited an estimated 5 million Dish Network customers who watch Tribune’s 42 television stations in 33 markets around the country. And when that station is the local Fox Network affiliate, it means the Dish customers won’t be watching the All Star Game normally.
In this region, it means many baseball fans have had to find another way to watch Royals games that have aired on WDAF and will need to use that alternative for tonight’s mid-summer classic as well.
Like plunking an old 32-inch television on the coffee table and hooking up an antenna over by the window. It means sitting very still throughout the game to avoid interfering with the signal.
“We’re all sitting perfectly still on our sectional so that we don’t disrupt it. It’s ridiculous. For the love of the game you do some pretty weird stuff,” said Meg, an Atchison resident and Dish customer who asked that her last name not be used because of the terms of her employment.
The old set is near the window to help pick up WDAF’s signal from Kansas City. The big screen TV is not near a window and is too big to move.
What if a big play causes someone lurch suddenly? The video image scrambles into unwatchable pixels. Meg tweeted out the useless image from a previous Royals game.
“We’re really huge baseball fans and it’s upsetting that we can’t watch the game clearly,” Meg said. “These are multi-billion-dollar corporations, probably, having a tantrum with one another, and we’re the ones missing out.”
A Dish spokeswoman said she had no update on the talks between the companies.
“We’re still negotiating but, without getting too much into the weeds, this is difficult,” said Gary Weitman, Tribune Broadcasting’s senior vice president of corporate relations.
The stalemate has left Dylan Dolisi of Paola without an option for the All Star Game. The 22-year-old watches nearly every Royals game with his mother and sisters, and even made a run to an Applebee’s Grill and Bar when games have been on Fox 4 during the Dish outage.
Not this time. Not for the All Star Game.
“This is what Twitter was invented for,” Dolisi said. “I’ll get to hear what happens I just won’t get to experience it.”
Unless something dramatic changes in a matter of hours, many Dish customers will be heading to bars, neighbors’ homes or other venues where the Fox Network broadcast of the All Star Game will be available.
It has made some Dish customers threaten to leave the company and at least one to deal with the broadcast disruption imaginatively.